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Freeway Community Hero: Toys for Tots Donations

A group of happy people standing in an office next to a pile of toys for tots donations

We can all agree that this past year has been a tough one, to say the least! As the saying goes, hard times often reveal true character, and 2020 is no exception. We were extremely proud to witness our communities step up and give back to help those impacted most by this past year’s hardships.

Freeway Insurance is in the business of helping people to protect what matters most, but there is no insurance policy for Christmas, and that’s where Toys for Tots comes in. To help families that are unable to provide presents for their children, TFT collects donations spreading joy to kids who would otherwise not have any gifts to open for the holidays. For the fourth year in a row, Freeway and its employees were proud to step up and support the Toys for Tots initiative, raising thousands of toys and $2.6 million in advertising services.

Two outstanding teams that helped support our giving mindset and are led by Nicole Pardy and Tracy Steen. Nicole is a District Manager based in Oregon, while Tracy is the Vice President of Sales in the Illinois/Wisconsin region. Both of these women have led their teams to collect substantial donations for the Toys for Tots organization.

group of happy people in office with toys for tots donations

Nicole was recently promoted to district manager, giving her a leadership role across multiple stores, and her heart for giving back spread to these stores and throughout her community. She utilized all communication strategies available to her. Social media, employee engagement, and word of mouth helped get people to take part in the giving season in a big way, showing in the record number of gifts given, and smiles shared.

Her team’s dedication to the cause showed not only in the ability to work in such a short time but in personal time, money, and other resources.

“It didn’t matter how much money came out of my pocket or how much time it took. We all wanted to make a difference,” said Nicole Pardy. “My passion comes from helping children because of their innocence. It truly touches my heart that some kids wouldn’t have anything to open on Christmas. I even took my daughter to buy presents from the cash donations we received.”

Clearly, Nicole and Tracy share a similar mindset because the other national standout was the Peoria area, with Tracy at the helm. This has been an initiative that this office has been involved in for nearly eight years, through the dedication and drive of the employees and the community’s giving spirit.

Tracy’s experience changed this year, as opposed to previous Christmas seasons, where the office’s leadership would visit the Marine armory to donate the toys in person, and at times personally help distribute them to the families in need.

“At times, people would come alone so as to keep the Santa idea alive for their families and would be so thankful, and other times entire families would come along, but the stories that stand out to me are when someone would come in and share tales about their families, ‘let me tell you about my granddaughter’ or tell you about their year,” said Tracy Steen. “It was always so good to give back, and something that still gets me is how sometimes the people that make the least give the most.” 

A huge thank you to all the teams that contributed and communities who were able to donate this past year. Thank you for being a Freeway Community Hero.

Learn more about our social responsibility programs here.

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